Personal Heart Preparation

0810080

By John Thiel

Something to Give
There are people out there who are seeking to find true meaning and understanding from God but they don’t know it. God’s church must have it. Missionaries must have that which every soul out in the world is lacking. The world cannot supply it. We cannot give if we don’t have.

You must receive light before you can give light. {TM 155.1}

I am charged with a message for you. Now is the time to do decided work. There must be no daubing the wall with untempered mortar. But you are not half awake. You need to be thoroughly aroused before you can give true instruction to those you are supposed to be helping. Your own hearts need to be worked by the Holy Spirit, else you will not be able men, imbued with a clear sense of what you need, keeping strict guard over yourselves. You need to work deeper, and cleanse you souls most thoroughly from impurity. You are not now prepared to give the trumpet a certain sound. Self, unsanctified self, receives altogether too much respect from you. {BCL 92.1}

Remember that your actions, words, looks, and thoughts are to be carefully guarded, else you will come short. Neither of you are developing as you ought the traits of character that would make you safe guardians of souls…

A missionary is to be a safe guardian of souls. This is applicable to us if we are to be effective.

The word of God is to be something more to you than you make it. You need to have done in your hearts the purifying, cleansing, reformatory work of the Spirit of God. {BCL 92.2}

You may repeat the words of life, many, many times, and yet fail to make them a life-saving power to your souls…

A T Jones was preaching powerfully from 1888. There comes a point in time when ministers become so used to what they are preaching that their own messages no longer become meaningful to themselves.

The eyes of both of you need to be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, else your words and your example will mislead. When you closely and critically examine yourselves, you will find that you have a work to do for yourselves before you can skillfully apply the gospel remedy to such a man as Dr. Kellogg. {BCL 92.3}

Note the word skilfully, the skilful work of having something to give as we seek to find soul so that we can win them and keep them. What is it that we need to have?

The education to be secured by searching the Scriptures is an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation…

This is what we need, an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation. What will it do?

Such an education will restore the image of God in the soul. It will strengthen and fortify the mind against temptation, and fit the learner to become a co-worker with Christ in His mission of mercy to the world. It will make him a member of the heavenly family; and prepare him to share the inheritance of the saints in light. {COL 42.2}

A practical experimental knowledge is what we need to have it we are to be missionaries.

But the teacher of sacred truth can impart only that which he himself knows by experience…

You might be a lecturer but unless it is your own experience it will not have an effect.

“The sower sowed his seed.” Christ taught the truth because He was the truth. His own thought, His character, His life-experience, were embodied in His teaching. So with His servants: those who would teach the word are to make it their own by a personal experience. They must know what it is to have Christ made unto them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. In presenting the word of God to others, they are not to make it a suppose-so or a may-be. They should declare with the apostle Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16. Every minister of Christ and every teacher should be able to say with the beloved John, “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” 1 John 1:2. {COL 43.1}

Are we to be the truth? I can’t share something that I don’t have an experimental truth of. I must have it if I’m going to be a true missionary for the Lord. Can we do that? We want to understand what we must have in preparation to be missionaries. We must like Jesus be truth. We must have experimental knowledge of the things that we are sharing. If we share it but don’t have the experience it will fall short of making the imprint to others. How do we get it? There are several points to understand. Firstly we must realise our condition. This is the very message to the Laodiceans.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

We don’t know that we are in this condition. This is addressing the natural man in us. When the natural man starts studying the word of God he says now I know, now I’ve got something to tell others and that is how he comes across. This is not a minister of Christ. The true minister if he wants to get the experimental knowledge that he has to pass onto others needs to recognise that he is wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked and he does not know it.

Proverbs 30:12 [There is] a generation [that are] pure in their own eyes, and [yet] is not washed from their filthiness.

That is us. We do feel that we are so blessed, we feel that the Lord has blessed us richly and we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. We are satisfied and yet we are not washed from our filthiness. We want to pursue this so that we can become servants of God as we realise this condition.

Our doctrines may be correct; we may hate false doctrine, and may not receive those who are not true to principle; we may labor with untiring energy; but even this is not sufficient. {1SM 370.2}

That’s not enough? What else does the Lord want?

What is our motive? Why are we called upon to repent?–“Thou hast left thy first love.” {1SM 370.2}

Ellen White was writing this to A T Jones. In 1903 she is telling him this. Didn’t he have it before? He must have had it as she was right behind him supporting his work and it was the power of the Holy Spirit. But what has happened now? Thou has lost thy first love.

Let each member of the church study this important warning and reproof. Let each one see if in contending for the truth, if in debating on the theory, he has not lost the tender love of Christ. Has not Christ been left out of the sermons, and out of the heart? Is there not danger that many are going forward with a profession of the truth, doing missionary work, while the love of Christ has not been woven into the labor? This solemn warning from the True Witness means much; it demands that you shall remember from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works;… {1SM 370.3}

How do we get the experimental knowledge? By recognising our condition and that you love other souls and want them to find what you have found. That is the first love. Do we have truth?

1 Corinthians 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

What was the important key? The part that is missing that we need so much is the love that lies as a motive behind our presentations of the truth.

The True Witness declares that when you suppose you are really in a good condition of prosperity you are in need of everything. It is not enough for ministers to present theoretical subjects; they should also present those subjects which are practical. They need to study the practical lessons that Christ gave His disciples and make a close application of the same to their own souls and to the people. Because Christ bears this rebuking testimony, shall we suppose that He is destitute of tender love to His people? Oh, no! He who died to redeem man from death, loves with a divine love, and those whom He loves He rebukes. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” But many will not receive the message that Heaven in mercy sends them. They cannot endure to be told of their neglect of duty and of their wrongs, their selfishness, their pride and love of the world. {3T 257.3}

We’re prone to think that we are alright. This understanding of our condition is imperative if we are going to be a faithful servant. Then we will be totally dependent of the input of the Lord. We are to contend for the truth, but as it is in Jesus. We need to know the truth as it is in Jesus.

The gospel workers in Corinth realized the terrible dangers threatening the souls of those for whom they were laboring; and it was with a sense of the responsibility resting on them that they presented the truth as it is in Jesus. Clear, plain, and decided was their message–a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. And not only in their words, but in the daily life, was the gospel revealed. Angels co-operated with them, and the grace and power of God was shown in the conversion of many. {AA 249.1}

There is a sense of the terrible danger that we are in, thinking that we know when we really don’t know as we ought. That will keep us in a position where we will be able to serve correctly.

There will be some terrible falls by those who think they stand firm because they have the truth, but they have it not as it is in Jesus. {5T 540.1}

What is it in Jesus that we need to have? It is the very subject of the atonement that Jesus came and took upon himself our own individual depravity. The incarnation of Christ is the great truth around which every truth in the Bible clusters. This is the truth as it is in Jesus, the love of the gospel. As we realise our true decrepit condition and reach out for the supply of that experiential knowledge, we need to plead. Alright, I admit, Lord you are right. But do we stop there? I need to have that practical knowledge so I accept the fact and then Lord, please, agonise for the supply. That is the second point on how to get it. Know our condition, acknowledge and recognise it and then plead.

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

139:24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

With such a plea and an acceptance of our condition, therefore now as you plead for him to do that then you will let him lead you in the way everlasting. We need to understand as servants of God the importance of spending time with God. Not just the importance of searching out what the truth is. As we are often under a high tense exercise of keeping the facts going, we can actually lose and do lose if we have never got it in the first place, this time with God.

The Lord needs men and women who carry with them into the daily life the light of a godly example, men and women whose words and actions show that Christ is abiding in the heart, teaching, leading, and guiding. He needs men and women of prayer, who, by wrestling alone with God, obtain the victory over self, and then go forth to impart to others that which they have received from the Source of power. God accepts those who crucify self, and makes them vessels unto honor. They are in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter, and He works His will through them. Such men and women receive spiritual power. Christ lives in them, and the power of His Spirit attends their efforts. They realize that they are to live in this world the life that Jesus lived,–a life free from all selfishness; and He enables them to bear witness for Him that draws souls to the cross of Calvary. {ST, April 9, 1902 par. 14}

We can never impart to others if we think that we have it. We must know our condition. Then we will be people of prayer that God will constantly work within us that we are clay in the potter’s hands. We cannot do a thing. We need Him to mold us. Such men and women will receive spiritual power that we want Him not ourselves to glow. When you think you have the truth and can tell the people a thing or two, sorry, that is a failure. The zeal of the natural man that finds truth does damage. We need to rely heavily on the Lord to communicate the living experimental truth that will draw people to the cross of Calvary.

The cry of the soul should be, Give me the bread of life. Lift up a full cup of the water of life to my parched lips, that I may be revived and refreshed. Let me see Thee as my helper, the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Thou wast wounded for my transgressions, and bruised for my iniquities. The chastisement of my peace was upon Thee, and with Thy stripes I am healed. {ST, March 7, 1906 par. 1}

The Lord does not want His children to worry and fret over things that they can not help. He wants them to go on from strength to strength. Let us learn a lesson of trust from the miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. There were five thousand men, besides women and children, to be fed, and five loaves and two fishes were all that Christ had. Yet, after all had been satisfied, there were gathered up twelve baskets full of fragments. {ST, March 7, 1906 par. 2}

When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, that which before seemed but a meager supply will prove to be a rich feast. You will be satisfied yourselves, and you will have something to give to others. Walk humbly with Christ, daily learning His meekness and lowliness. Thus your heart will become a temple for God’s presence. {ST, March 7, 1906 par. 3}

We need to feel our condition that we have the truth but that we need more, we need that love, give it to us Lord. We need to spend time in this. This is so easy to fall out of this when there is so much to do. We have to slow down to be able to speed up. If we want to have real success that is going to spread with the fire of the Holy Spirit, we must have the spirit in our own life, the love of the spirit of God.

How to Present and Share

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; …

This is the experimental knowledge.

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

What they had an experience they wanted to share with us so that we can experience it and so we can all have fellowship together.

In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught…

Teach what Christ has taught, not what we have worked out for ourselves.

That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. “The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. {DA 826.1}

The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy…

How can one proclaim a mercy that one hasn’t experienced? It’s impossible.

He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters. {DA 826.2}

These things warm our hearts. We can go forward with this understanding when we have pleaded and see our condition and see the mercy of God to have lifted us out of our condition. He continually sustains us and that gives us more impetus to proclaim his message. The truth is far beyond our natural understanding but look what we have found, something so precious. That is what people are looking for. God’s servants will go forward when they pursue a path to receive in order to impart.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

Why was Paul like that? Because he understood the Laodicean condition. He realised that the glory of his background was nothing. Then he didn’t want to know anything among them except Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

I’m trembling lest you pick up from me something that is from man.

It should be the burden of every messenger to set forth the fullness of Christ. When the free gift of Christ’s righteousness is not presented, the discourses are dry and spiritless; the sheep and the lambs are not fed. Said Paul, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” There is marrow and fatness in the gospel. Jesus is the living center of everything. Put Christ into every sermon. Let the preciousness, mercy, and glory of Jesus Christ be dwelt upon until Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. . . . {Ev 186.2}

That is what people are lacking: Christ formed within. In this work, what are we to do?

Let us gather together that which our own experience has revealed to us of the preciousness of Christ, and present it to others as a precious gem that sparkles and shines. {Ev 186.3}

The experience that you go through when you know your true condition as the Lord has revealed and you feel crushed and hopeless, then you discover in yourself the preciousness of the Saviour by seeing your own sinfulness, when you discover in your own inward self, this preciousness of the saviour, then you will gather together that which your own experience has revealed.

Thus will the sinner be attracted to Him who is represented as the Chief among ten thousand and the One altogether lovely. {Ev 186.3}

How will the people be attracted? The sinner will be attracted when the servants of God communicate living activities of experimental knowledge that they have discovered for their own soul which they can then impart it to others. Then the sheep are fed. Finding a link with others that you are trying to reach comes into the picture. When we comprehend our own depravity our hearts are ready to be filled with love and compassion for others. If you know what a deplorable sinner you are and you can identify others in the same position you are, you will not patronise them. You will find a link with them. They will feel you are on their level but if you don’t have this, you will not be on their level. You will be patronising. Do you like anyone patronising you? The appreciation of my depravity and the love and compassion of God for me will communicate that to them. You will find a link with others and when you have found that link, you meet a depraved person and you feel you are one with them. Wasn’t Jesus like that? He felt our sins, he was on our level. This is the precious gospel. When you experience that gospel as an experimental reality, then you can help and find that link with others. They will appreciate it and will pick it up straight away. This was Isaiah’s preparation, this great prophet. The whole experience of Isaiah is to be ours.

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

6:2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.

6:4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Imagine you are watching this. He sees the glory of God and hears the angels glorifying the father on his throne. The house was filled with smoke.

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

When do you feel that you are absolutely depraved? When you see the King in His glory. If you haven’t seen the king in his glory you will be a Laodicean, you will patronise. Isaiah was exactly like this until he met this.

Isaiah 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

6:7 And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

What a relief. You see yourself as you see Gods glory and the angel comes and gives you a cleansing experience.

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.

Then Isaiah was ready.

Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same condemnation he had pronounced upon them. He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in his worship of God. He had not known this until the vision was given him of the Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” {4BC 1139.1}

Laodiceans don’t know.

…after beholding His majesty, a message came to him to go and do a certain work. He felt wholly unworthy for the work. What made him esteem himself unworthy? Did he think himself unworthy before he had a view of God’s glory?–No; he imagined himself in a righteous state before God; but when the glory of the Lord of hosts was revealed to him, when he beheld the inexpressible majesty of God, he said, “I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. … {4BC 1139.4}

Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the glory of the God of heaven, as He is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness. In deep humiliation Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me. {4BC 1140.2}

Have you ever confessed something and afterwards felt I feel better for confessing it? You confess it and there is a little thing inside that says I’m a child of God I’m confessing my sin. When Isaiah said woe is me, it was not a voluntarily humility;

This is not that voluntary humility and servile self-reproach that so many seem to consider it a virtue to display. This vague mockery of humility is prompted by hearts full of pride and self-esteem. There are many who demerit themselves in words, who would be disappointed if this course did not call forth expressions of praise and appreciation from others. But the conviction of the prophet was genuine. As humanity, with its weakness and deformity, was brought out in contrast with the perfection of divine holiness and light and glory, he felt altogether inefficient and unworthy. How could he go and speak to the people the holy requirements of Jehovah, who was high and lifted up, and whose train filled the temple? While Isaiah was trembling and conscience-smitten, because of his impurity in the presence of this unsurpassed glory, he said, “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me… {4BC 1140.2}

Then he could go and only then. We must have the right genuine article if we are going to be able to go and be missionaries for him.

Men and women are needed whose hearts are touched with human suffering and whose lives give evidence that they are receiving and imparting light and life and grace. {AG 340.4}

These kinds of men and women are needed. May we tune in so that the Lord can use us. This we will do to tune in and understand the actual work that is before us.

Amen.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in Missionary Studies. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Fatima Junqueira

    Hi there pastor John Thiel, I find your sermons enlightening and uplifting. I’ve learned much with your sermons and those of other preechers. My reason to write is actually to ask U what does the abbreviations BCL; AG; and FW stand for. I have all the others but not these. I thank U for your time.
    May God Allmighty bless U all.

    • They mean;

      BCL = BATTLE CREEK LETTERS

      AG = AMAZING GRACE

      FW = FAITH AND WORKS

      If you have the EGW database you just search on these abbreviations and you find them.

      God bless,
      Sabbath Sermon.

  2. Great study, god Bless 🙂

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